A Systematic Review of Hospital Trauma Team Activation Criteria for Children

OBJECTIVES Hospital trauma activation criteria are intended to identify children who are likely to require aggressive resuscitation or specific surgical interventions that are time sensitive and require the resources of a trauma team at the bedside. Evidence to support criteria is limited, and no prior publication has provided historical or current perspectives on hospital practices toward informing best practice. This study aimed to describe the published variation in (1) highest level of hospital trauma team activation criteria for pediatric patients and (2) hospital trauma team membership and (3) compare these finding to the current ACS recommendations.
METHODS Using an Ovid MEDLINE In-Process&Other Non-Indexed Citations search, any published description of hospital trauma team activation criteria for children that used information captured in the prehospital setting was identified. Only studies of children were included. If the study included both adults and children, it was included if the number of children assessed with the criteria was included.
RESULTS Eighteen studies spanning 20 years and 13,184 children were included. Hospital trauma team activation and trauma team membership were variable. Nearly all (92%) of the trauma criteria used physiologic factors. Penetrating trauma (83%) was frequently included in the trauma team activation criteria. Mechanisms of injury (52%) were least likely to be included in the highest level of activation. No predictable pattern of criterion adoption was found. Only 2 of the published criteria and 1 of published trauma team membership are consistent with the current American College of Surgeons recommendations.
CONCLUSIONS Published hospital trauma team activation criteria and trauma team membership for children were variable. Future prospective studies are needed to define the optimal hospital trauma team activation criteria and trauma team membership and assess its impact on improving outcomes for children.

as reported in: Pediatr Emerg Care. 2019 Jan; 35(1): 8-15